Monday, February 4, 2013
The Mighty Isis #8: When Cindy Met Rennie
Rennie Roberts, that is. It happens in The Mighty Isis #8 (Dec.-Jan. 1977-78), the comic's final issue. The story is called "Darkly Through the Mutant's Eyes," written by Jack C. Harris, pencilled by Mike Vosburg and inked by Marvel stalwart Al Milgrom. Rennie is an unusual name, so it's safe to assume this is supposed to be the TV character and they just made a little mistake with her surname. But you know, that kind of carelessness isn't enough of an explanation for a hardcore comic book geek like me, so I've put way more thought into this than most would consider sane.
Here's what I've come up with. The DC Comics version of Isis and her supporting cast are alternate universe versions of the characters familiar from the live-action show and they live on one of those numbered or lettered DC earths where things are subtly different.
How different? Well, I'm not sure, but I doubt Andrea Thomas works at Larkspur High in the comic. And Isis spends a lot more time fighting sorcerous foes than helping kids get over losing their beloved dogs or reconcile with their Chinese heritage. There's also the Rick Mason-Thomas romantic subplot, which at one point is actually a love triangle with a Mason-smitten Cindy Lee; none of this occurs in the live action show. So perhaps this Rennie Roberts person is the DC universe Rennie Carol. Different parents, occupying roughly the same place in dimensional continuity. After all, she looks nothing like Ronalda Douglas, who played Rennie-Prime on TV.
Another explanation is way back in 1977, no one particularly cared as much as I do now about consistency between the comic and the Filmation show. Someone told Harris there was a new student assistant on the show named Rennie, he shrugged and said, "Far out, but I've got some Wonder Woman to write. I can't be wasting my time learning all these characters' names."
Which is kind of a shame. This panel offers the tantalizing possibility Cindy Lee actually was around for the second season of Isis, but the stories that aired were just the ones involving Rennie. In some ghostly alternate vision, Cindy and Rennie were pals and good-natured academic rivals trading shifts as Ms. Thomas's student assistant. The Mighty Isis might have benefited from a regular back-up feature where Cindy and Rennie team to solve minor mysteries such as what's in the hamburger patties in the Larkspur cafeteria, because it sure ain't any kind of beef. You know, with Ranji, C.J. and Feather dropping in from time to time.
Then again, that's probably a stupid idea. Nothing would have helped sales and by the time Rennie appeared, it was a moot point anyway. An editor's note in the letters page tells us there just weren't enough fans to keep the book afloat financially, but what few there were could keep watching the Saturday morning TV show for their Isis fix. With the show already out of production, that wouldn't be true for long.
You gotta believe!